About Phil Levine

Philip Levine was one of the leading poetic voices of his generation, “a large, ironic Walt Whitman of the industrial heartland,” according to poet Edward Hirsch. He served as poet laureate of the United States, he won the Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards, and he was a Professor Emeritus of English at Fresno State after teaching here from 1958 to 1992. He died Feb. 14, 2015 at the age of 87.

Levine and fellow poets and professors Peter Everwine and C. G. Hanzlicek established the Creative Writing Program at Fresno State.

Even after his retirement, Levine remained deeply connected to the program for the rest of his life, visiting classes, attending and giving readings, and teaching mini-courses. The annual Philip Levine Prize for Poetry honors promising new voices in poetry each year, and it actively engages 15-20 graduate students in literary publishing. The Fresno State Winery produces a limited edition special wine blend to honor Levine, with the proceeds benefiting creative writing students through the Philip Levine Scholarship, which was established in 2012 by the College of Arts and Humanities. The Philip Levine Reading Room inside the Henry Madden Library on campus was opened in May 2017.

Photo courtesy Gary Kazanjian, The Associated Press

Levine tributes on MFA blog